The Godfather Part III is both a continuation of and commentary on the first two films, reuniting stars Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, and Talia Shire, as well as writer Mario Puzo, cinematographer Gordon Willis, and production designer Dean Tavoularis. Coppola transfers the action from gray Lake Tahoe to the burnished browns and blacks of New York, as the near-mythically powerful and wealthy Michael Corleone attempts to make the family business fully legit. Violently revisiting famed set pieces, particularly Part II's Little Italy assassination and Part I's baptism, Coppola reveals the depth of Mafia corruption in hallowed institutions and the utter venality of the next mobster generation. The Corleone saga's operatic tone reaches its appropriate climax at the opera, while Michael's silent scream and lonely end eloquently attest to the psychological as well as physical cost of putting Family before family. Although Pacino's energetic gravitas earned praise and Andy Garcia's trigger-happy Vincent was a star-maker, critics hammered last-minute substitute Sofia Coppola (for ailing Winona Ryder), and the cumbersome plot. Still, The Godfather Part III earned seven Oscar nominations (including Best Picture and Willis' first nod for the groundbreakingly shot trilogy), and respectable if unspectacular grosses.
by Lucia Bozzola review